All posts by Sunalini Kumar

A Small Matter of Security – Holding the Guilty Accountable for What Happened in Ramjas College on the 22nd of February: Shafey Danish

This is a guest post by SHAFEY DANISH

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Ramjas students and faculty held hostage inside campus by ABVP cadre

The violence that gripped Ramjas College on the 21st and 22nd of this month is now national news. We heard belligerent slogans by ABVP members of ‘chappal maro saalon ko’ (beat them with slippers), we saw students being chased on the campus, and we saw students being beaten up. All this culminated in a situation where students and teachers were held captive for over five hours within the campus premises. Let me emphasize that this violence was completely unprovoked.

On the 22nd of February, some of the students who were simply sitting with their friends were attacked. The police came and formed a cordon around them. Others joined the students in a gesture of solidarity. Teachers joined them to ensure that the students were not assaulted. The police cordon became their prison for the next five hours. And even then they were not safe.

They were repeatedly assaulted, threatened, and abused. All of this happened in front of their teachers and, more importantly, in front of the police, who, as is well known by now, did not do anything substantial. They could have maintained the cordon around the protesters, arrested those who were repeatedly carrying out the assaults, or – at the very least – prevented the attackers from coming back in (they had left for some time to attack the protest going on outside). But they did not. Whether this was because they were under pressure or because they were complicit is besides the point. The point is that students and teachers remained at the mercy of their attackers for over five hours.

But on the same day something far more ominous was also going on.

Continue reading A Small Matter of Security – Holding the Guilty Accountable for What Happened in Ramjas College on the 22nd of February: Shafey Danish

STATEMENT CONDEMNING Incidents of Violence by ABVP: Students and Academics From Around the World

 

We, the undersigned students and academics, gravely condemn the attack on the students and faculty of Delhi University on the 22nd of February, 2017. The students and faculty of Delhi University were expressing their democratic right to protest against the vandalism and hooliganism unleashed by the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at Ramjas College, Delhi University, on the 21st of February, 2017. We oppose ABVP’s systematic and deliberate attempts to humiliate, terrorize and bully the students and the faculty members.
We also condemn the brutal, unconstitutional, and illegal actions taken by the Delhi Police against the students and faculty members. Delhi Police’s refusal to lodge legal detention and parading of students in buses, and scapegoating of democratic student and faculty body threatens and undermines values of the Constitution, and has created an environment of fear and dismay.

Continue reading STATEMENT CONDEMNING Incidents of Violence by ABVP: Students and Academics From Around the World

STATEMENT CONDEMNING VIOLENCE AT RAMJAS COLLEGE: Students, Alumna and Associates of Department of English, Delhi University

We, the students, alumni and associates of the Department of English, Delhi University, unequivocally condemn the attack on the students and teachers at Ramjas College and on the university campus by violent protesters from the ABVP and/or other factions, outside and inside the college premises on the 21st and 22nd of February, 2017. We also condemn police inaction and the unprovoked assault on peaceful protesters, manhandling of women and students who were registering their dissent outside Maurice Nagar police station.

The attack on a faculty member of our Department has brought to light the glaring fact that none of us who uphold the right to a free exchange of ideas is safe in the university campus under the current circumstances. We assert that it is our most fundamental right as members of the university community to critically engage with ideas, discuss, debate and follow strands of thought to uncharted territories that remain under the cover of the protective gaze of social and political forces. We have been nurtured by the English Department, at the University of Delhi to question established readings of texts—both cultural and literary—to place them upside-down or to give new shape to them as the need be and we will not concede this ground to forces that wish to stagnate readings of literature, culture and the social at large. An attack on Dr. Prasanta Chakravarty is a blatant attack on each and every member of the English Department, as we have learned more than we can encompass in this statement from his lectures, ideas and discussions both inside and outside the classroom. He taught us to speak truth to power and this practice is most needed today when he was physically assaulted not more than five hundred meters away from the English Department.

Continue reading STATEMENT CONDEMNING VIOLENCE AT RAMJAS COLLEGE: Students, Alumna and Associates of Department of English, Delhi University

The story of the Indian budget: Where the camera failed? Muhammed Shafeeque CM

Despite the controversies of demonetization, the central government has again succeeded in deftly hijacking the minds of Indian citizens through a riveting speech made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The budget seemed to be especially important given third quarter statistics which are filled with drawbacks of the demonetization policy. Thus we had a budget speech completely focused on digitalization of a country where the ‘digital divide’ stubbornly persists. As the budget theme (Transform, Energize, and Clean) attempted to glorify existing conditions, there were unsurprisingly no transformations in the overall economic framework except the expected tax reduction. In the zeal for “energizing”, the budget had clean forgotten the needs of the informal sector including agricultural sector. Even though the government provocatively claimed that it had cleaned up black money, it revealed no data regarding the amount of black money actually mopped up from the market.

Continue reading The story of the Indian budget: Where the camera failed? Muhammed Shafeeque CM

ABVP Students’ Violence at Ramjas College – Video Footage and Eye Witness Account

Story, Video and Photographs: PIYUSH NAGPAL AND DEBALIN ROY.

ABVP students stall seminar, turn violent at Ramjas College from Debalin Roy on Vimeo.

As is well known by now, a seminar organised by the English literary society of Ramjas College, Delhi University titled “Cultures of Protest” on Tuesday the 21st of February was disrupted by a huge mob of ABVP students. They threw stones/bricks into the seminar hall, shattering windows and injuring students, and in full view of Delhi Police, manhandled and beat up student participants. Delhi Police was barely able to control the situation and refused to offer protection to the invited speakers who were told by ABVP members,”We will disfigure your face in a way that you will be unrecognisable”. Mainstream news media has added little to our understanding of the harrowing day-long siege of a college campus space by bloodthirsty goons by presenting it as a “clash” that “broke out” (like a case of hives?!) between two student groups. Thereby implying that left hooligans and right hooligans engaged in their hoologanism while we as neutral public can sigh at the declining public behaviour of students and get back to our lives. Thankfully there are eyewitness accounts and videos that counter this ridiculous and dangerous false equivalence and drive home the point that once again, the opportunity to engage in speech, reason and words was violently cut short by those who wanted to hurt and maim.

Continue reading ABVP Students’ Violence at Ramjas College – Video Footage and Eye Witness Account

Rain and Revulsion: Prasanta Chakravarty

This is a GUEST POST by Prasanta Chakravarty

“Slime is the agony of water.”

~ Jean Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness


The Birth of Revulsion – Pranabendu Dasgupta

No certainty where each would go —
Suddenly the descent of a cloudburst, rain.
We stood, each where we were,
And stared at one another.
It is not good to be so close
“Revulsion is born” – someone had said

“Revulsion, revulsion, revulsion.”
Then, lighting a cigarette, some man
Muttered abuse at another next to him.
Like an abstract painting, spiralling like a gyre,
In a wee space
We slowly fragmented, dispersed.
Had it not rained, though,
We would have stepped out together.
Perhaps to the cinema, tasting a woman’s
Half-exposed breast with the eye,
Then laughing out loud,
We could head for the maidan!
Someone maybe would sing; someone
Would say, “I am alive”.

But it rained.

(Krittibas, Sharad Sankhya,  1386)

 ঘৃণার জন্ম

প্রনবেন্দু দাশগুপ্ত

কোথায় কে যাবে ঠিক নেই —
হঠাৎ দুদ্দাড় ক ‘রে বৃষ্টি নেমে এলো।
যেখানে ছিলাম, ঠিক সেইখানে থেকে
আমরা পরস্পরের দিকে তাকিয়ে রইলাম।

এত কাছাকাছি থাকা খুব ভালো নয়।
” ঘৃণার জন্ম হয় ” –কে যেন বললো
” ঘৃণা, ঘৃণা, ঘৃণা। ”
তারপর সিগ্রেট ধরিয়ে, আরো একজন
খুব ফিশফিশ ক ‘রে
পাশের লোককে গাল দিলো।
বিমূর্ত ছবির মতো তালগোল পাকিয়ে পাকিয়ে
ছোট্ট জায়গা জূড়ে
আমরা ক্রমশ ভেঙে, ছড়িয়ে পড়লাম।

বৃষ্টি না নামলে কিন্তু
আমরা একসঙ্গে বেরিয়ে পড়তাম।
হয়তো সিনেমা গিয়ে,রমণীর আধ -খোলা স্তন
চোখ দিয়ে চেখে
তারপর, হো হো ক ‘রে হেসে
ময়দানের দিক যাওয়া যেতো !
কেউ হয়তো গান গাইতো ; কেউ হয়তো
বলতো “বেঁচে আছি “।

কিন্তু বৃষ্টি নেমেছিলো।।

(কৃত্তিবাস, শারদ সংখ্যা ১৩৮৬)

Continue reading Rain and Revulsion: Prasanta Chakravarty

Students In Solidarity With Professor Nivedita Menon and Rajshree Ranawat – A Statement – UPDATED SIGNATORIES.

We, the undersigned, condemn the repeated attacks on Professor Nivedita Menon, the most recent of which being the police complaint lodged against her on the 3rd of February, 2017 (as also against Professor Rajshree Ranawat) for allegedly making ‘anti-national’ remarks during a seminar organised by the Department of English, Jai Narain Vyas University. This incident, we believe, is continuous with the spate of attacks that Professor Menon has had to face for taking an astute stand against the RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh (RSS), its student-wing the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and the nefarious politics of Hindutva in general. We refuse the rationale of dissent against Hindutva as dissent against the nation, because our idea of the nation is not of the Hindu Rashtra but of secularism, democracy, and social justice. Both as a voice of dissent and a formidable scholar of politics, Professor Nivedita Menon is an inspirational figure. She is a consistent articulation of conscience and an abiding commitment to the ideals that our freedom fighters envisioned for our nation. It is our conviction that patriotism is not only love for the abstract entity of the nation but also for its people, regardless of class, caste, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or any other marker that is used to advantage or disadvantage groups. The ‘patriotism’ that the RSS and its henchmen claim to champion is hateful, divisive, and truly anti-national.

It is our concern as students, therefore, that the ABVP claims to speak for the student community. This petition is a rejection of that assertion, and a statement in solidarity with Professor Nivedita Menon. We hope for and demand the cessation of attacks on Professor Nivedita Menon and the protection of her inalienable freedom and right to oppose the politics of division and communalism. Continue reading Students In Solidarity With Professor Nivedita Menon and Rajshree Ranawat – A Statement – UPDATED SIGNATORIES.